A new fund has been launched to support grass root groups and charities in Dorset that tackle mental health and wellbeing.

Dorset Community Foundation has partnered with Community Action Network and NHS Dorset to launch the Community Wellbeing and Mental Health Fund.

This fund will will offer grants of up to £80,000 over two years or £10,000 over one year for groups running community-based, non-clinical services and activities to adults aged 18 and over that focus on wellbeing and mental health.

Applications will be open until March 1, however there will be a second application round in the summer for grants up to £10,000.

The fund will support early intervention mental health services as well as projects that help those living with mental health conditions to take part in activities that aid their recovery and wellbeing.

Dorset Community Foundation chairman of trustees Tom Flood said: “The projects that this new fund will enable will help communities look after their most vulnerable people and in doing so, we hope they will be taking some of the pressure off our already stretched NHS services.”

Priority will also be given to projects in communities experiencing health inequalities. This includes those who are socially excluded, live in areas of high deprivation, or experience multiple risk factors for poor health.

Groups applying for the one-year funding must spend it within six months to a year, beginning within two months of the award. The two-year grants will be paid in two instalments with the second instalment only to be paid pending receipt of a satisfactory report at the end of year one.

More information about eligibility and how to apply for the grants is can be found: dorsetcommunityfoundation.org